to just pictures.
Kevin and I skied at Keystone on our government workers holiday (every
other Friday) and got to Kickaboo Tavern just as the Crown Royal shot girls were
making their rounds. I stayed at the condo with Jean, Miles, and the McGaughey's
for a near-sleepless night due to Miles rolling around and waking up constantly.
We all met at BK's Frisco palace Saturday morning around 7am and headed west.
Shafer and John were heading right for Ouray, while me, Kevin, BK, Austin, and
Mike went to Redstone to check out Avocado
Gully. The ice was non-existent so we continued the snowy and rainy drive
over McClure Pass to Ouray. At the house some folks headed to the ice park while
some of us stayed back. While attempting to tap the keg we discovered that they
gave John the wrong tap for his first ever keg purchase. To adapt and overcome,
we headed to the brewery for a beer and to borrow a tap, crisis averted. Lots of
laughs, catching up, drinking, and eating cheese steaks that night. I turned in
early since I was dragging from the night before.
Surprisingly, Red Mountain Pass was open so we took the opportunity to go over
to Silverton for ice climbs Sunday morning. We made a wrong turn in town and
ended up at the ski base instead of Eureka. Back at Eureka, we hiked up the road
in awe of Stairway
to Heaven, which had 8 climbers heading up. We choose Second
Gully as our objective, 5 pitches of 800' of WI3. The first ice bulge was a
warm-up and a reminder that I hadn't ice climbed close to a year. The second
pitch runs out a bit, so BK setup an ice screw anchor and brought me up after I
made a disaster of a nest out of the ropes, while Shafer and Kevo followed. A
bit of steep snow, then the next ice pitch. Once again, coming up short of any
anchor we simul-cilmbed a little. The multi-pitches, twisted ropes, wind, and
cold certainly add a new dimension. BK brought me up to his anchor and I went
past him further up the steep snow to a V-thread. BK went up the last pitch with
the steepest section of ice to the anchor, where we shivered and waited for
Shafer and Kevo. Rappel, steep snow down climb, rappel, down climb, rappel,
rappel... back in the sun on the road and giant smiles. Awesome climb!!! Back at
the car there was a note for Shafer to ride with us, so we immediately called
John and pranked him that Shafer wasn't with us. We raced back to the house for
the Superbowl, only missing the first quarter. BK grilled up some monster
steaks, potatoes au gratin, and corn while we abused our livers. It was a late
night of laughing and playing poker. Despite this only being my second time
playing poker, I won $20 on top of the $30 I won for football squares.
Monday morning it was snowing a bit and we wanted to hop on Horsetail
Falls, but a group just got there. Up to Camp Bird road, where it was
surprisingly busy, and we watch snow sluff down The
RIbbon non-stop onto four climbers. John, Mike, and Austin headed to Senators
Gulch, while me, Shafer, and Kevo climbed Chock
Up Another One. One 200' pitch of WI3-4, was just what the doctor ordered.
Shafer lead it like a champ and brought me and Kevo up to the small and muddy
belay. Next was the first pitch of Skylight.
Nothing too difficult with a weird and thin move up and over the top. That about
did it for me, sp Austin and I headed back to the house to get cleaned up and
packed since he had a flight to catch and I had to head home. Another great trip
to an amazing place with a group of rock-star climbers and characters.